Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God of War Chains of Olympus Review

First of all, I love Greek Mythology. I always have since I was a child and learned about Zeus, Athena, and everyone else who resides on Mount Olympus. I can't tell you how many books and movies I've read over the years dealing with Greek Mythology. I've always been fascinated with Sparta (even before 300 came out) and wrote quite a few papers during my school years about the Spartan way of life as well as it's military.

The back story on the God of War Series is that the lead character Kratos is now in servitude to the Greek God of War, Aries, after Aries spared his life in a Spartan Battle. He's become basically a slave to the Gods and is at their beck and call when they need him to take care of something for them.

Chains of Olympus is a prequel to the orignal PlayStation 2 game, God of War, and does a great job answering several questions that have been left unanswered in the two previous God of War games. I won't spoil anything here about the story of Kratos since I'm sure some readers haven't played either God of War and God of War II.

With the God of War series being such a huge hit on the PlayStation 2, Sony decided to give the series a try on it's handheld cousin, the PSP, and enlisted the services of Ready at Dawn to design the game and keep the series' good name.

Graphically, this is the best PSP game to date. The character models and environments would be top notch for a console game, much less a handheld game. The amount of detail in the character design is stellar for a handheld and the environments are just beautiful. The frame rate is steady and I didn't see any slowdown or glitches along the way. There are some minor graphical glitches and tearing at various points of the game, but nothing that takes away from the overall experience.

Ready at Dawn did a great job with the sound and the soundtrack as well. One of the best things about the God of War series is the score and this version is no different. The best way to play Chains of Olympus is with headphones in just to hear the dialogue, swords clanging, and the enemy voices as Kratos chops them down. The game is a top notch ovearll sound experience.

The Gameplay in God of War Chains of Olympus is second to none. This is hands down THE best game on the PSP both in graphics and playability. The camera can be a bit of a bother at times, but it's really not a problem. Controls are usually a problem on handheld games, but just like many others, I prefer the controls in Chains of Olympus to that of it's big brother the PS2. The controls work perfectly and there are no issues at all. The real time events are still in when killing enemies as well. If you loved either of the two previous God of War games, then this one is a must play as well. The gameplay is so good that it's almost as if Ready at Dawn shrunk the PS2 versions a bit and put them on the PSP. Kratos has his trusty blades as per usual, but there are new types of magic that I've never seen before in the series. The story is classic God of War and includes cameos from several creatures from Greek Mythology, among them Persephone, Morpheus, the Sun God Eros and many others. The story is a bit on the short side, but is action packed from start to finish.

In closing, God of War Chains of Olympus is not only the best game on the PSP system, it's one of the best games on any system period and is reason enough to own a PSP. Was the transition of Kratos to the PSP a success? My answer is an overwhelming YES. Ready at Dawn did a fantastic job making God of War Chains of Olympus shine on the PSP. There isn't a PSP game yet I've seen that can touch the gameplay of this title. If you have the least bit of interest in the character development of Kratos before the first God of War on the PS2, then you owe it to yourself to either buy this game or rent it.

Final Score 9/10
Points taken off for a bit of screen tearing at times and some wacky camera movement at points.

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